I was talking to my dad just a few minutes ago. He is so amazing. He has just had his third bout with cancer and is gaining strength and making plans. It thrills my heart to see him doing better. He was so sick - and this time his heart was affected - which was scary. But he is getting stronger every day. He is exercising and I love to hear him talk of what we are going to do. Joy. Pure joy.
As we were talking I was telling him about All Stars and how crazy it is. Not just the schedule - that is bearable. Not even being team mom - that is tough - but it is also fun. The thing that kills me is the money.
Good grief the money.
I will be the first one to tell you that God is changing my heart and my mind about the stuff. Money is God's and if I spend it where he would have me to - everything is going to be alright. He has proven his provision for us over and over again . Through two job losses and me not making much of anything these days - God has more than met our needs through friends and family. I have been humbled and thrilled with it all. Which leads me to my problem.
We spend an unbelievable chunk of change on All Stars. Last year we had three playing. It would have easily been a $1000 had we not had help from grandparents and sweet friends whose business sponsored the boys . Bless them. We really are grateful. We are trying to pay it forward.
We are told that All Stars is a reward for kids doing well during the season. And if you know me - you know I love little league baseball. So to extend the season is just a really happy thing. But what they don't tell you before you sign that contract that restricts you to where you buy your uniform and gear, is how much it is going to cost.
I remember the first time one of the kids made All Stars. We were thrilled. Then when we saw the price tag (after we signed the contract) we were dumbfounded. We are blessed above and beyond anything I can ask or imagine - but I will say - it seemed like a sacrifice. But this is our main sport. So we bought into it and had a great time.
This year it has been more than we have ever paid. I am so thankful that only one child decided to play. It would have exceeded $1000 and quite frankly I am already uncomfortable spending that much money on something that is so fleeting. Even with getting sponsorships from local businesses for advertising it seems that we spend too much. But here we are. Playing again and enjoying it.
But back to my conversation with dad. As I was telling him how much the uniforms cost, I was a little floored by what was coming out of my mouth. And quite frankly convicted that we are spending that much money on equipment and uniforms. We already have a bat bag. We already have a helmet. We could have just bought the jerseys and the hat and asked everyone to go get white pants or whatever like we normally do during the regular season and spent a whole lot less. I would have rather spent the majority of our money on really rewarding our players by having fun things for them to do. We do fun things - but we by far spent the majority of our money on things that really don't matter. The jerseys would be enough of a status thing for the kids. They get to advertise their expertise with the new shirts the whole next school year. The vanity thing should be satisfied. I am really not sure about the new bags, and the new helmets. It seems like the this is a kickback to the sporting goods store we bought from and that makes me uncomfortable.
I fear shaking things up. But I fear more allowing this to continue. All Stars seems to have become more of a status thing than a reward for playing well during the season.
That is wrong. My status has nothing to do with money. My worth has nothing to do with money. What am I teaching my kids by perpetuating this thing that sucks money up like a Coke on a hot day? Their worth is wrapped up in accomplishments? In performing well? Heaven forbid.
I don't think that has to be the case at all. I do believe you can do the one without sacrificing the other. But I do think that the amount of money being spent on equipment needs to be addressed. And I think my attitude about it all should be checked and rechecked - over and over again.
We have been blessed with coaches that display wonderful examples for our kids. We love the friendships we have made, but maybe - just maybe we have forgotten what All Stars is really about. These kids would not be affected in the least by not being decked out head to toe in this stuff. I think. Maybe we have indoctrinated them more than I think. What I really have come to believe is that All Stars is more about parents and them wearing their kids abilities like a badge. Maybe I am wrong. Maybe I am being too hard on us all...myself included.
I don't know.
I need other parents to sound off on this for me. Give me your opinions and reasons for them. I want to make this a better thing. Competition is great for the kids. I believe that. We are teaching them to live in a competitive world. This is a great thing....but maybe we should rethink the amount of money we spend on the things that don't matter.
What do you think?